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The Crucible

The following collection of thematically related readings is available in The Crucible and Related Readings in McDougal Littell's Literature Connections series.


"Conversation With an American Writer" by Yevgeny Yevtushenko
(from Early Poems )
Summary: Like John Proctor, the speaker of this poem resists the pressure to denounce others and tries only to be honest.

"Guilt" by Clifford Lindsey Alderman
(from The Devil's Shadow, © 1967)
Summary: This essay tells what happened to the actual participants in the Salem witch trials.

"How to Spot a Witch" by Adam Goodheart
(from Civilizaton, © 1995)
Summary: A contemporary writer explains the most popular methods of identifying witches.

"Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorne
(from Mosses from and Old Manse, © 1974)
Summary: In this short story, a young Puritan learns more about the devil's work than he wants to.

Excerpt from God's Country: America in the Fifties by J. Ronald Oakley, © 1990
Summary: This historical essay details the "Red" scare, when thousands--instead of dozens, as in the witch trials of the 1690s--found their lives ruined.

"Justice Denied in Massachusetts" by Edna St. Vincent Millay
(from Collected Poems, © 1928)
Summary: This poem uses imagery to show the damage done to society by wrongful executions.

"The Very Proper Gander" by James Thurber
(from Fables for Our Time, © 1968)
Summary: In this fable, Thurber uses a play on words to show how rumors, such as those that the girls spread in The Crucible, can distort the truth.

"The Piece of String" by Guy de Maupassant
(from The Best Stories of Guy de Maupassant, © 1945)
Summary: In this story, set in the French province of Normandy, a man is falsely accused of a crime.